Streaming Services

Hello, Folks -

In an attempt to (somewhat) get with the times, I am incorporating streaming as a source in my audio system.

In my research I’ve seen that sound quality varies among the providers.

I’m looking for a provider suggestion. A service that you feel has high sound quality.

For the most part this would be for classical music. Some classic rock and jazz would be a plus.

I’m a fuddy duddy with my equipment and am not looking to change anything out. What I have:

Conrad Johnson HD3 USB DAC

Conrad Johnson Premier 16LS Preamp

Conrad Johnson Premier 12 Mono Block Power Amps

Vandersteen Quattro Loudspeakers

PGS interconnects

MacBook Pro

Any suggestions/recommendations would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you very much for reading my post.





Being new to streaming, I would start off with Node130 as @curiousjim and @fuzztone pointed out and use your CJ DAC via USB. Avoid the headaches with Laptop and start off on a solid / stable foundation with Node130. The BluOS Controller app is easy to follow (iPad recommended) and provides seamless integration for many cloud based streaming services. A wired Ethernet connection is recommended for better sound quality and network stability. You can get your streaming system up n running in 3 easy steps, don’t overthink it.

Step 1 - Buy Node 130 and good quality USB cable

Step 2 - Use Wired Ethernet connection to Node130

Step 3 - Sign up with Qobuz

Until you fully acclimated with streaming just ‘save’ the comments like streaming is not good enough vs local files; MQA vs DSD vs FLAC endless debates for later. There is plenty of great sounding content on streaming. Embrace Streaming, sit back and enjoy!

Nothing wrong with using your Macbook into a DAC for streaming. It’s the same raw signal coming into the device and then going out to the DAC, and the DAC becomes the important part. The Macbook is kind of irrelevant. I stream mainly from my iPad into a DAC and that is my favorite way to use Amazon HD audio. I’m still searching for a separate streaming component for my main system, and taking input from these forums. I’m not going to pay for multiple services, and unless Amazon shows quality issues with the audio it’s a good fit for us. My main issue with the devices out there is that it’s rare to find one that not only has good streaming services, but can also store and play local files. Tough to beat the BluOS system, (BlueSound devices) but the Node needs a decent DAC, and the devices from other brands such as NAD do not have all the functionality I want. Not going to spend more than $5k for a device that "should" be better than my iPad and DAC combo, especially when most of those devices are missing one function or another. Frustrating.

As many have already suggested, Quobuz is my preferred service.

Also as many have suggested, you will have to dump the Mac as a streamer. Even an entry level BlueSound Node 130 (newest version) will provide a great interface and superior sound quality. Add a quality linear power supply and excellent USB cable and you are set as a starter package. I'm still using this package (with a Denafrips IRIS DDC outputting I2S to Denafrips Pontus II DAC) until I can save up for an Aurender N200 at $6,300

BlueSound Node 130 (latest version) $600

LHY BlueSound Node 130 Linear Power Supply kit $279

High quality USB cable (Supra Excalibur USB cable) eBay seller Zendada is preferred distributor $140

Total $1,019 for a terrific starter steaming setup with a great interface. And you can compare the internal DAC of the Node 130 to your DAC and see what differences you see. I personally use a Denafrips Pontus II, for about $1,850


KISS. Before ever posting I read for many years. @lalitk knows his stuff and his consise entry recommendations are excellent.

The typical pathway into steaming is from conputer to low end streamer and then to mid to high end gear with cleaned up internet. The pursuit of high end streaming yields sound as good as a fancy cd setup, most turn tables but maybe not a high five to six figure record rig. Many here agree/disagree with this and there’s a trove of previous “discussions” on steaming and vinyl setups. And now DSP’s able to fix room problems too. Thanks Pandora.